Recognition of self knowledge is the distinguishing mark of authentic human existence, because no other species has the ability to know themselves internally. We are set apart from other species by a practice that is routinely ignored as our focus continually extends outwards, therefore bringing us down to the level of lesser species.
“Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom”.
Self reflection is our greatest tool for advancement in life, for without it we are subjected to either continually make the same mistakes over and over again, or become a puppet to someone we empowered to do our thinking for us. If we are ever to reach our potential we need to have the ability to do more than know ourselves, we must understand ourselves. Until we understand our action/reaction relationships from an internal perspective, we will continually be searching for what we want and not working towards what we want.
If we are to believe that Aristotle is correct, that our search for wisdom starts with knowing yourself then we must believe that without knowing yourself you will be unable to be wise. According to Erik Erickson, a personality theorist, wisdom is the last stage of his eight stage theory of psychosocial development. Within Erickson’s theory, wisdom is an optimal potential outcome of the human experience. What these two great minds are telling us is that our inability to self reflect, to look inward, is preventing us from getting the most out of our human experience.
In order for us to move forward, we need to look inward. Taking this look into us allows us to find the reason why we are where we are and how we influenced our way there. Self reflection shows us the roadmap of our life, it gives us insight to our situational responses, and holds us accountable for the decisions that we have made. Self reflection is a necessary component to empowerment, which ultimately is our ticket towards personal achievement.
“He that will not reflect is a ruined man”.